MTBers Test Mettle At Four Orange Parks

Brumley South mountain biking. PHOTO BY PHILIP RUCKART

The Triangle features many popular and challenging mountain bike trails and the Or­ange County area boasts four singletracks that test the mettle of riders to different degrees. They don’t don’t have to go far to find one and they’re free. Observe the  rules and enjoy.

All four also are great for hiking, running and most host trail or bike races. They also serve as plant and wildlife sanctuaries and are great places to get away from the hustle and bustle. Hours are generally sunrise to sunset daily.

They are Little River Regional Park near Guess Road north of Hillsborough in Rouge­mont, Brumley Forest Nature Preserve south of Hillsborough, Carolina North Forest (school, airport divisions) on UNC property in Chapel Hill and Briar Chapel in north Chatham. A fifth at UNC Outdoor Center, Chapel Hill, is on the way.

Little River Regional Park and Natural Area, 391 acres, jointly owned by Durham and Orange and operated by Orange, has 7 miles of mountain bike trails (4m for ad­vanced riders) plus running/hiking and bird trails. Park is in Rougemont and open 8-8 daily. Call 919-732-5505.

Brumley South NP off New Hope Church Road north of Chapel Hill has about 9 miles of MTB trails, mainly for beginners, is the newest of the four with 613 acres and has hiking and multi-use trails. It’a a Triangle Land Conservancy property. Property has two parking lots. Use the lot off New Hope Church. TLC is raising money for a 60-acre Brumley East expansion.

Carolina North Forest has about 20+ miles of singletrack multi-use trails (intermediate level) on 900 acres in two sections. They’re owned and maintained by UNC. The trails off MLK Junior Boulevard, Chapel Hill, are called the airport property while trails off Sea­well School Road are the school side. When checking trail conditions at trianglemtb.com, be sure to look at both, keeping in mind the Airport side often takes longer to dry after a storm than the school side.

Briar Chapel in North Chatham off US15-501 has a 12-mile loop of singletrack mountain bike trails amidst a residential community south of Chapel Hill with running and bike trails everywhere, plus a MTB skills park. Trails maintained by Triangle Off-Road Cyc­lists (TORC), a volunteer group with fingers in most area MTB projects. BC often hosts MTB races and special events.

To find the trails take Briar Chapel Park­way 1.7m to a traffic circle. Look for the outdoor pool which has a parking lot. Head to Northwood Drive which crosses the trail.

Trail Science is developing a second section of mountain bike trails at Carolina Out­door Center in Chapel Hill and completion is expected in the fall.

Meanwhile, mountain bikers are reminded to follow the signs at these properties. Closed gates mean no riding or walking. To check on trail status go to trianglemtb.com website. Pets must be on a leash, stay on trails, don’t blaze your own. You know the drill.

Joel Bulkley